The Earl of Cardigan has lost a High Court battle over the ownership of paintings from his ancient family estate at Savernake. The Earl, David Brudenell-Bruce, had claimed he is entitled to “use the paintings” under the terms of a lease and was trying to stop estate trustees selling them.
The trustees’ case was that the paintings were not part of the lease. On Friday (April 20) a High Court judge, Mr Justice Newey, ruled against the Earl and lawyers for the trustees said the paintings – about forty in number – would now be put up for auction.
Last month Mr Justice Newey had heard from lawyers that the estate at Savernake was in “severe financial difficulties” and that the trustees “urgently needed” to sell the family paintings.
Last summer there was another hearing at the High Court at which an order was made preventing the Earl from selling estate “chattels” after the trustees complained that attempts had been made to sell estate silverware. At that hearing the Earl’s barrister, Henry Hendron, told the judge that his client was “to all intents and purposes down and out” and “had no money”.
The Earl refuted Mr Hendron’s statement and said he would engage a different lawyer. He told reporters “I am not ‘down and out’.”
Up to the Second World War, the family lived at Tottenham House in Savernake Forest. They then moved to Savernake Lodge, a smaller house on the estate.
The Earl of Cardigan’s only daughter, known as Bo Bruce, has been appearing on the BBC talent show The Voice.